Matriarch Stakes 2017: Odds and Analysis

Matriarch Stakes 2017: Odds and Analysis
Photo: Keeneland

You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here -- closing weekend of the Bing Crosby meeting at old Del Mar is upon us. Before the seaside oval bids adieu to 2016, it looks to go out with a bang, highlighted by a pair of excellent races on the green. On Saturday, the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby will see a full field of three-year-old males grappling for the winner’s prize, while Sunday offers the Matriarch Stakes. Also a Grade 1, the filly and mare affair is always fun, and this year’s edition will be more of the same. This one includes some of the best female turfers in the land. Let’s take a look at the flat mile test, including my analysis and projected odds.

12) Miss Temple City (5-2) – Twice she has visited Royal Ascot, and twice she has accounted herself well. In neither occasion, did she come away with the win, though. In fact, she has not one against her own gender since early last year. Of course, there can be no questioning of her class. She has beaten males in two Grade 1 races in 2016, and is coming off a typically strong performance in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. Her trainer, Graham Motion is on a roll at Del Mar, she loves a mile, should sit the trip, and is ready to show her class.  The One to Beat

11) Time and Motion (5-1) – Though only a three-year-old, this talented daughter of Tapit is well proven for both class and consistency. After showing flashes as a juvenile, the Jimmy Toner-trained miss has put together an outstanding 2016 season. Facing the best in her division, she is only a diminishing half-length from being perfect in six starts this year. Now a Grade 1 winner, Sunday’s test offers two big challenges; she’s cutting back to a mile after running farther than that in all of her starts this year, and she faces older mares for the first time. I think she will fit from a class perspective, but I worry her late run could fall just short in this one. Rolling Late

7) Roca Rojo (5-1) – Lightly raced and talented, this daughter of Strategic Prince has done little wrong in six lifetime starts. In fact, she had a bit of an excuse in her only career defeat. She clearly likes the one-mile trip, but I wonder if she doesn’t do her absolute best running on turf with plenty of give. Her smashing win in the Grade 3 Athenia last time came on a Belmont turf course labeled as soft, and her only loss was on firm. For that reason, I have her third in here, but one of three from the powerful Chad Brown barn, she must be feared. Near Spotless Record

6) Mexican Gold (12-1) – Bred in Kentucky, this Chad Brown trained four-year-old compiled a strong record over in France before coming back to the U.S. She has only made two starts here, and they were good. A nice allowance win at Saratoga was followed by a third in the Athenia. The turf was soft that day, so she may appreciate finding firmer turf in Southern California. All three Chad Brown entrants have a shot in here, and she is the one with the best odds. May Prefer Firm Turf

4) Zindaya (5-1) – It’s hard to knock this one’s record, which includes a solid win in the Grade 2 Goldikova at Santa Anita last time. Having said, she is the one I like the least of the Chad Brown trio. Many of her best races have come at distances shorter than a mile, and against fields weaker than this. You have to respect her, but I think she is unlikely to win two straight in California. Third of the Brown Trio

3) Kitcat (12-1) – The daughter of Scat Daddy came to America on a real roll from her native Chile. Her first start here was promising, but in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf she faded to a 12th-place finish. Having said that, she did have some trouble in the race, and this one is marginally easier than the BC. Back at a mile, she looks like a danger to upset the apple cart in the Matriarch. Dangerous Import

1) Tiz a Kiss (12-1) – Looks to be in career best form of late, having run four very solid races in a row. The six-year-old grey mare also looks good at a mile, and over the Del Mar turf course. She has tactical speed that could put her in great position at the top of the lane. Overall, one of the more interesting longshots in the field. Sharp at a Mile

2) Stays in Vegas (15-1) – The three-year-old daughter of City Zip has been a consistent performer for high profile trainer, Jerry Hollendorfer. She’s won 5-of-11 lifetime, while consistently running well in stakes competition. She looked like a winner two starts back in the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks, but was passed late. Now she faces older, and her toughest test yet. In with a shot, but my guess is this proves a little bit too much for her. Solid Sophomore

9) Decked Out (20-1) – Although she ran a very big race over this course in the Del Mar Oaks (2nd beaten only a head at 9-1), she came back from that effort to run 12th and last next out in the Grade 1 Rodeo Drive, in what was her first try against older mares. She could well improve on that, but expecting a win here seems like a stretch. Hasn’t Beat an Older

10) Prize Exhibit (20-1) – On a nine-race losing streak, this English-bred mare was a beaten favorite here in last year’s Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks. Before that she had accounted for the Grade 2 San Clemente at Del Mar in impressive fashion. A return to that form puts her in with a shot in this one, although the competition is only tougher. Searching for Old Form

8) Nancy From Nairobi (20-1) – Was going well this spring with three straight victories, but since winning the Grade 2 Royal Heroine in May, she has only managed one third in four starts. Like most in here, she could pop up, but still, others look better. Tailing Off

5) Sobradora Inc (20-1) – A winner of her first five races, including a listed stake at Del Mar, she has found the going tougher when moved up into graded stakes. On top of that, the Argentina import failed last time against less than these. I will pass. Lost Winning Mojo

Meet Brian Zipse

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, American Pharoah and Justify. Before coming to HRN, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. His racing partnership venture, Derby Day Racing, invites more fans to experience the thrill of racehorse ownership.

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, created the popular racing webcast HorseCenter, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as hosting HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves on the Board of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars and is a Vox Populi committee member. He is a voter for racing's Hall of Fame, as well as a weekly NTRA poll voter. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.

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